‘All Shook Up!’ — An Insider’s Review

By Christopher Matthews ’20

In June of 2019, Ms. Wolanin announced to the LCDS Theater Company that the winter musical would be “All Shook Up!” We were excited to perform whatever she could throw at us, but nobody had heard of this musical before. Little did we know, “All Shook Up!” would change all of our lives for the better.

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As auditions approached, our excitement was through the roof. We learned a grueling dance routine (which later became the dance break of “Jailhouse Rock!”) and had to memorize multiple songs, all in a few short days. The days before the cast list’s release are always some of the most stressful times in the company, and this show was no different. Tensions ran high until the 22 cast members accepted their roles with glee.

From the beginning, everyone in the company knew that “All Shook Up!” would be one of the biggest productions that the Steinman Theatre had ever seen, but after a few rehearsals, we truly realized the massive scale of the production.

Typically our shows take place on one set, but “All Shook Up!” requires many distinct locations that could not possibly be condensed into a single set. We needed to figure out how to use every single inch of space backstage to store different pieces of furniture while more than 20 actors scrambled to make their entrances on time.

The further we got in the process, the bigger the show seemed to become, but with a fighting spirit (and a lack of snow days), we charged into tech week.

It took us almost two full days to set up the lights, sound, and scene changes for the show, a process that normally takes only a few hours. While this was happening, the crew organized the backstage and the actors feverishly reviewed their lines and the musical numbers.

“All Shook Up!” features more than 25 different iconic Elvis songs, all of which have challenging harmonies and difficult high notes. Our vocal director, Mr. Woodbridge, masterfully taught the ensemble all of the music in less than two months while also teaching the principal characters their solos during office hours.

As opening night approached, our nerves were through the roof, following the same path our excitement had taken before auditions.

Because we didn’t have school on Friday, traditionally one of our busiest nights, many more students and faculty decided to come to the Thursday night production. The house was packed.

After our pre-show warmups, Ms. Wolanin delivered a heartwarming pep talk that reminded us to stay grounded and to have fun. The seniors looked to opening night with a bittersweet excitement. “All Shook Up!” was the swan song for many of the 17 seniors, so every single one of us wanted to give it 100 percent.

Opening night could not have gone better because of the tremendous amount of energy from the cast and audience. Thursday’s show led us into an extremely successful weekend of theater in which we sold out two of our four shows. As we struck the set on Sunday after everything was over, the exhaustion had begun to set in, but we could not have been more thrilled with the work we put in. We put on a grueling production, but we gained a whole new appreciation for one of the most iconic performers of all time in the process.

Building an Excellence Machine

The sixth grade FLL team isn’t hard to spot, even without the traffic-cone hats. They’ve got the skills, machines, and trophies that mark them as part of Country Day’s fledgling — and thriving — Robotics program.

Assistant Head of School Todd Trout took the stage to congratulate the sixth grade FLL (First LEGO League) squad for their second place finish at the Pennsylvania State Championships last month. The result earned the team a berth in the Razorback Invitational May 16-18 in Fayetteville, Ark., where they will compete against 80 other teams from around the world.

 

Building an Excellence Machine
Girls Make Basketball History
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“Within a short time we’ve established a tradition of excellence, and that’s something to truly be proud of,” Trout said, and the assembled Middle Schoolers roared their approval.

The Upper Schoolers compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a competition in which teams build and program a robot to complete specific tasks on a common course. Every team starts with the same parts and has to write the robot’s code in the same programming language, but other than that, each group designs a unique robot they hope will be the most capable on the course.

This year, the Upper School FTC team has earned a first place Programming Award, a first place Outreach Award, two third place Champions Awards, as well as a spot in the Pennsylvania State Championships in March.

Stay tuned for excellence updates.

Echo Hill: A Lesson in Gratitude and Unity

By Sophie H. ’24
Photos by The Chaperone Shutterbugs

On a cold Tuesday morning, the Class of 2024 set off on a four-day adventure to Echo Hill Outdoor School, on the Chesapeake Bay in Worton, Md. Though it was early, everyone was energetic, excited, and curious about the possibilities that our last Middle School overnight trip would hold. Before we knew it, the bus was filled and the sound of 50 kids chattering filled the space. After two hours on the bus, the roads became windier and we became more and more restless. Pretty soon, everyone rose from their seats and pointed to a sign that read, “Echo Hill Outdoor School: Celebrating More than 40 Years!” That sign stood as a reminder to all of us of the hundreds of LCDS students who had taken the same trip in years past.

Right when we got off the bus, the activities began. We started off playing a form of sharks and minnows as group. By the end of the game, everyone was smiling and laughing together. It was like we had left all of our stress back at home and were able to escape and just have fun.

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Next, we headed to our cabins and then Harris Hall for lunch. Every table sat six students and one counselor or teacher. The counselors explained how at each meal a “biddy” must be selected to tend to the food and dishes for the table. The first couple of meals, no one seemed too enthusiastic about taking the job, but by our last meal, there was an outright competition over for the opportunity to wait on the table.

We all enjoyed our lunch and just when we were preparing to get up and leave, we were introduced to two new activities that would quickly become tradition. The first consisted of collecting and weighing the table’s wasted food. Food waste hadn’t been a big priority for us in our day-to-day lives, but once we arrived at Echo Hill, that changed. After every meal, we weighed the slop bucket and were encouraged to think about the resources needed to produce the food that we had helped ourselves to and then didn’t eat. The second ritual was a repeat-after-me-do-as-I-do song. The songs were fun, over the top, and just downright hilarious. They brought our group together in a lively and exciting way.

After each meal, we found out what activity our tribe was participating in that day and which counselors would be guiding us. These adventures ranged from team-building exercises to studying marine life in the Chesapeake. But of everything we experienced, there was quite literally nothing that could top the tower.

Standing almost five stories tall, the massive structure was the highlight of the trip for many of us. It offered the perfect balance of teamwork, encouraging each other, and forcing you out of your comfort zone. It didn’t matter if you made it to the top or not; all that mattered was that you gave it your best effort and felt supported as you did.

As our time came to a close at Echo Hill, we all gathered for one final hurrah to leave our mark on this trip. We played games, sang songs, and talked about our experience.

Through these exchanges, it became clear that Echo Hill will be an event of lasting meaning for our class. Through simple activities, our grade bonded in myriad ways, getting to know one another on a deeper level. We all realized how important it is to be grateful for the opportunity we have to go to a school like LCDS and to be surrounded by such exceptional peers and teachers. And though our time at Echo Hill was short, I know the memories we made there will endure for a very long time.

The Straight Dope on Refreshing Mountain

By Keira A. ’25
Photos by The Chaperone Shutterbugs

The seventh grade field trip was a lot of things. But one of the things it was not was forgettable. Many memories were made, some good some bad; many activities were so fun, others less so.

The first day we arrived an hour or so before lunch. We were assigned our rooms and finally the anticipation was over: We found out who our roommates were.

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We got a chance to unpack and settle in before some pre-lunch games. After we ate, we split into three groups for two team-building exercises. The first was a physical challenge with 34 separate parts that we had to divide up and conquer. The second was geocaching, where we had to use GPS to navigate to specific coordinates to find information that we recorded on a sheet.

After our activities we had time to ourselves before dinner and then the gym to play kickball and dodgeball. Curfew was at ten o’clock and we had to be at breakfast by eight.

The second day started with archery, using a slingshot, and a giant swing. While the first two are self-explanatory, the last one isn’t. The giant swing is where you get hooked into a harness to which two ropes are then attached. One of the ropes your teammates will pull to raise you up; the other rope is what you swing by.

Lunch separated the morning and afternoon.

The afternoon activities were pedal carts, zip lining, and reptile and amphibian center; which were all shortened to 45 minutes since it was raining that day, which made it not as enjoyable.

The third day saw us head to our last activities, which were the rock wall, obstacle course, and reptiles and amphibians (a different reptiles and amphibians from the day before).

We ate our last meal, then hopped on the bus and went back to school to be picked up by our parents.